Josh Taylor vs. Teofimo Lopez happened Saturday night, but it was Lopez who won and claimed the WBO Super Lightweight Championship (video here). He handed Josh Taylor his first pro loss in a dominant 12-round unanimous decision performance (115-113, 115-113 & 117-111). The title fight started close as the fighters were getting comfortable and figuring each other out through four rounds, but Lopez started to take over the bout in the fifth round, pulling ahead by connecting with a strong right hand frequently in the fight.
A more charismatic Lopez came out later in the fight, lowering his arms to dance briefly at times and charging forward with dramatic, lunging lead jabs. He had completely taken hold of the fight by the final round, unloading large shots against a covered-up Taylor.
After the fight, Lopez apologized to Taylor for mentioning in the build-up to the event that he wanted to kill him in the ring. “I think my emotions get the best of me. I do not want to take your life. I want you to go back to your family,” Lopez said. Taylor didn’t seem to mind: “It’s all fun and games,” he replied.
Saturday was Lopez’s third victory since moving up from lightweight. His prior wins in the 140-pound class came against Pedro Campa and Sandor Martin. Taylor’s previous fight was a February 2022 victory over Jack Catterall, a split decision victory that many considered a tough outing for him.
Josh Taylor vs. Teofimo Lopez: Play-by-play and highlights
Round 1: The crowd had a decent amount of supporters for either boxer, but Lopez seemingly had more in support of him – a “Teo” chant broke out early. Both boxers spent the first minute trying to figure each other out, mainly with jabs. Taylor was the first one to really put together a combination, coming forwards with a few shots in the second minute. Taylor was given a warning in the third minute about pushing in the clinch. A small, potentially insignificant bruise started to show the left side of Lopez’s nose during the round. Taylor seemed to be the more active fighter in the opening round, I’ll go 10-9 Taylor.
Round 2: Taylor came in for a punch and was caught by a short right hand from Lopez in the second minute of the round. The referee showed concern that the fighters might be clashing heads – this after they came together once. Lopez came forward with a series of hooks on Taylor later in that minute. Taylor opened up with a few solid shots in the final seconds of the round. A close frame once again – they’re both being cautious to start and are justifiably picky about busting out longer combinations of shots so far. Lopez connected with the better shots in this round I feel, I’ll tie it up at 19-19.
Round 3: Round three starts and it’s getting scrappy. Taylor stormed at Lopez with punches. Lopez went into the ropes and had to use his balance to not fall out of the ring, it seems. Taylor landed a shot on Lopez while the referee said stop – Lopez protested this and the referee warned Taylor afterward. Lopez went for a glove touch, and Taylor opted for trying to land a punch instead. The referee warned Taylor about pulling Lopez’s head again halfway through the round. Another incredibly close round, I’m willing to give the lead back to Taylor, making it 29-28 Taylor.
Round 4: Taylor connects with a clean overhand left in the opening minute of round four. The crowd came alive as Taylor started to move awkwardly, although it looked more like a loss of balance instead of being hurt. Lopez was the advancing fighter throughout this round, although Taylor continued to connect. Taylor got hit with a right hand that stung him a little. With Taylor against the ropes, Lopez unloaded with a combination to end the round. Lopez had a great second half to this round and tied it up once again. 38-38.
Round 5: Lopez backed Taylor up with a right cross a minute into the round. Taylor is the more advancing boxer in this round. Lopez scored with a right cross again two minutes into the round then repositioned. It’s worth noting that after two faster-paced rounds, both fighters slowed down a little in this frame. Despite the change of pace, I think Lopez kept his momentum going and snagged another round. 48-47 Lopez.
Round 6: Broadcast notes that Taylor is advancing at Lopez but “freezing” once in front of him. It’s a fair assessment, it feels like Taylor is walking down Lopez but not doing anything with that movement. Similar to round five, the pace was slow in this round. The fight took a break in the third minute of this round due to a low shot on Lopez. This round was a hard one to score but I think, I’ll go 58-56 Lopez.
Round 7: Lopez is doing a good job of coming in for his shot and getting out before Tayor can respond. Lopez was able to land a really good right cross on Taylor halfway through the round. When comparing the output and connections from the two boxers, it feels like Lopez is starting to gain a lead. Well, on my scorecard he definitely is at least. This round was an easier one to score, I’m giving the advantage at 68-65 Lopez.
Round 8: Both fighters are connecting with big shots in this round, really taking turns at times. Lopez has a small cut that opened near his right eye. Lopez started to taunt two minutes into the round, giving Taylor a shimmy after avoiding a punch. With just a few seconds to spare, Lopez lept forward with a lead jab that connected on Taylor. This is a match that Taylor is still quite in, but the way that Lopez is edging out these rounds is causing a widening gap on my scorecard. 78-74 Lopez.
Round 9: Commentary booth really beginning to think Lopez is pulling away here. The crowd, on their feet and cheering after every big blow from Lopez, seems to think he’s closing in on something here. Lopez is becoming increasingly flashy in his movements and is clearly comfortable. He scored a few notable singular big punches around the halfway point of this round. The right hand in particular of Lopez is doing really well. Lopez threw a series of straight punches in the closing seconds of this round that backed Taylor up and bounced him off the ropes. Taylor was fighting Lopez’s fight in this round. This was the easiest frame to score so far. 88-83 Lopez.
Round 10: This felt like an off-round for both fighters, but especially Lopez. If he is ahead by a few rounds as we expect, that’s certainly not the worst thing in the world. Taylor advanced on Lopez throughout the round and had the higher output. Lopez was able to stop himself from getting hit with anything here that would hurt, but he certainly didn’t win this round either. 97-93 Lopez.
Round 11: Taylor started this round as the advancing fighter, but it felt like Lopez was able to regain control of the fight at some point in the round. Lopez snapped Taylor’s head up with a perfectly timed uppercut, catching Taylor with the shot as he advanced forward on him. A similar uppercut connected for Lopez later in the round as well. This crowd isn’t on their feet and cheering like they were a few rounds ago, but this is still definitely Lopez’s fight. 107-102 Lopez.
Round 12: Lopez caused Taylor to lose his balance with a clean lead jab a minute into the round. Lopez unloaded with a series of hooks in the second minute that landed clean too. Lopez is fully in control against a tired Taylor at this point. Lopez is emptying the tank in this final minute, scoring with big shots against a shelled-up and defeated Taylor. Lopez paces across the ring before the final bell rings. 117-111 Lopez is how I see it. Now we wait and see what the actual judges think.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Teofimo Lopez def. Josh Taylor via unanimous decision (115-113, 115-113 & 117-111)
Josh Taylor vs. Teofimo Lopez quick results
- WBO World Super Lightweight Championship: Teofimo Lopez def. Josh Taylor via unanimous decision
Xander Zayas extended his flawless record to an impressive 18 wins, working for eight rounds against Carlos Ramos for a unanimous decision win (80-71, 80-71 & 80-71). Zayas had fast combinations throughout the fight that a shelled-up Ramos consumed and had no answer for. Zayas got ahead early in the fight, scoring a right cross knockdown on Cruz in the opening minute of the bout. Cruz survived this moment, but continued to have a low output throughout the fight. Zayas was very active in the early rounds of the match, although the amount that he threw dropped off somewhat near the halfway point of the bout. He picked things back up late in the seventh, closing out the final few minutes with some strong combinations on the feet.
- Super Featherweight: Robson Conceicao vs. Nicolas Polanco via no decision, accidental headbutt (Round 2, 3:00)
A super featherweight bout between Robson Conceicao and Nicolas Polanco came to an unexpected end after two rounds, as an unintentional headbutt took Conceicao out of the match and caused a no-decision result. The accidental headbutt near the end of the second round made Polanco fall to the ground, visibly in pain at the time. After a break, Polanco insisted that he wanted to continue, standing back up for the final moment of the second round to play out. However, after a discussion in-between rounds with Polanco and his corner – which included the mention of him feeling “dizzy” – the referee decided to end the fight. Conceicao had a strong start to the fight, having a high output of punches through six minutes.
Omar Rosario had a close unanimous decision win over Jan Carlos Rivera, getting a two-round advantage on all scorecards after an action-packed bout (77-75, 77-75 & 77-75). Rosario and Rivera exchanged quick combinations during the match, taking turns with fast exchanges that would both partially connect. The broadcast observed throughout the bout that Rosario seemed to be the quicker super lightweight of the two. He was also more frequently the advancing fighter. Rivera, who entered this weekend with eight wins and one loss, was appearing in an eight-round bout for the first time in his career. Rosario’s record now stands at a flawless 11 wins as a pro.
Undefeated heavyweight Damian Knyba earned win number 12 as a pro on Saturday, trudging his way to a unanimous decision victory against former Otto Wallin opponent Helaman Olguin (79-73, 79-73 & 79-73). The fight started as a scrappy back-and-forth battle, as Olguin got in up-close exchanges that neutralized Knyba’s notable reach advantage. Knyba took significant control of the fight halfway through after fatigue became a major factor. However, he was quite tired as well, and never put together enough to get Olguin in significant trouble. At times, Knyba would corner Olguin with a combination, then suddenly release the pressure that he put on his opponent.
- Featherweight: Bruce Carrington def. Luis Porozo via TKO (Round 8, 2:17)
Bruce Carrington closed out his dominant performance against Luis Parozo in the final minute of their eight-round bout, earning a stoppage against the tough veteran to earn his eighth win. An early-arriving New York crowd was largely in support of the state’s own “Shu Shu,” as he strung together quick combinations while frequently fighting on the inside against Porozo. Carrington went to both the body and head with these punches, landing clean but not bringing the tough vet to the canvas at any point. The referee started to warn Parozo during the eighth round to “show” him something more, eventually stepping in as what Parozo provided wasn’t enough for him. Parozo briefly protested this stoppage. The loss on Saturday continued recent troubles for Porozo: Heading into this weekend, he lost four of his most recent five appearances.
- Lightweight: Henry Lebron def. Carlos Ramos via Unanimous Decision
Henry Lebron picked up his 18th win as an undefeated lightweight on Saturday night, going five rounds against Carlos Ramos for a unanimous decision win (97-91, 98-90 & 98-90). Lebron’s lead right hand was the key to success against Ramos. He picked up numerous early rounds almost solely by using his lead jab, connecting with one or two shots at a time. He most notably dropped Ramos in the eighth and 10th rounds, landing a clean right hook in both instances. Both boxers came off as conservative with their output at times, only being able to put together jabs instead of opening up with other shots. The final three rounds of the bout certainly saw Lebron with a much higher output than the frames before. Ramos had a six-bout winning streak broken with his loss this weekend.
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